It was, without question, an historic week in the BC Legislature. It started with throwing out government legislation and ended with the government’s demise.
With fewer members than the BC NDP and the BC Green Party together, the BC Liberals knew they were fighting a losing battle. But they tried to act as though it was business as usual.
On Monday, they brought in two pieces of legislation which were rejected by the opposition before debate on them could even start, which clearly showed they did not have the confidence of the House.
But they ploughed on, through four days of question periods and of speeches. Every day in Question Period we highlighted how the BC Liberals were failing to meet the needs of people –from education through healthcare and the lack of action on softwood to the growing housing crisis. Each time we asked the Premier to test the confidence of the House but she did not.
Instead she filibustered, giving increasingly long-winded speeches in the place of answers to questions. And this mockery of our democratic system seemed like nothing more than a show to her: after one of these partisan diatribes, she sat down, smiled and winked.
In acts of increasing desperation, the Minister of Finance who is also the BC Liberals’ House leader, tabled a letter in the Legislature to the current Speaker which asked him to weigh in on the question of whether a speaker could vote to break a tie in the House.
And the next day he issued a financial update – due next week – which had not been certified by the independent Auditor General. This is unheard of.
Early in the week, John Horgan tabled an amendment to the motion on the Throne Speech which read “Her Honour’s present government does not have the confidence of this House.”
He spoke to it on Wednesday and gave an inspiring description of what we could do if in government.
We let the BC Liberals respond to the Throne Speech and explain how they could support ideas that they previously campaigned against. The sudden willingness to embrace what are essentially the NDP and Green platforms – bar Site C and Kinder Morgan – would have been comical if it had not reflected their intense desire to hold onto power no matter what cost to principle and democratic processes.
The vote to defeat the government came on Thursday afternoon. It was historic and the coming days and weeks will lead us, as a province, into new territory. But we now have a real opportunity to truly work together, to right some of the wrongs of the last 16 years and to build a better British Columbia.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful celebration of Canada’s 150th and is able to enjoy the long weekend. I can be reached by email at Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 250 287 5100 in Campbell River or 250 949 9473 in Port Hardy and toll free at 1 866 387 5100. Feel free to friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @clairetrevena.